For immediate release: October 4 – November 2, 2012
“Residue: The work of Michael Callaghan, J.D. Hastings, and Toni Tiller”
There is an old joke once told by gritty New York painters at the expense of their West-coast brethren. As it goes the painters in California were besides themselves, lamenting that they were unable to finish their paintings. You see, the masking tape factory had burned down…
Such condescension, born of a devotion to process and drive for authenticity, is no longer relevant to today’s art world (if it ever really was at all). Separating out the use of any tool by mere geography is a fool’s errand, and a handy roll of blue painters tape is mundane for its ubiquity in any painter’s studio. But ubiquity breeds familiarity, and we know where that leads. Snark aside, as any method of producing art becomes accepted and common, a viewer will inevitably find themselves face to face with a work of art that is denuded of any mystery of conception or process. If the artist leaned too heavily on a particular crutch, the viewer cannot help but notice when the work falls down in a jumble of straight-from-the-tube colors or brush strokes everyone can tell came from a # 4 flat. The same holds true when looking at a two inch wide stripe that demarcates a hard-edge shift in the surface or terminates in a cartoon of a jagged tear. And when a gesture or material becomes too common it becomes taken for granted. The artists exhibiting in Residue do not succumb to facile tricks, and instead approach tape as a basic tool, without taking it for granted. Their aim is to make something new with the tool without making the tool the primary focus and their approach has lead them down unique creative paths.
J.D. Hastings takes the tape fragments he uses to mask off larger paintings and recycles them into small studies, and they subsequently result in larger works quilted out of the ephemera. He sends his materials across country to Toni Tiller, who adds to and edits the patterns, building in new complexity. The finished paintings speak to the community and craft that emerged from working the soft substrates of cloth before it was incorporated into hard industrial production. Their collaboration (notably spanning coast to coast) forms a recursive loop, as tiller changes materials according to her own practice and then feeds the results back to Hastings. In the end there is no end; a single painting spawns multiple bodies of work that serve as simultaneous critique and evolution of the original.
Michael Callaghan started picking up bits and pieces of gaffers tape from the film sets he worked on, and stuck the left over strips onto plywood to make his first compositions. Building a simple, dumb activity used to pass the down time on set into a full fledged painting practice, he has removed the bright cloth colors from their coded utilitarian efficiency and brought them into the art world as an industrially derived pallet. He adds and subtracts layers to simultaneously build and excavate the surface so that it references the archeological more than the contemporary map. His surfaces speak to unearthed discoveries rather than manufacture.
Michael Callaghan lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work can be found at www.michaelcallaghanart.com.
Residue has been curated and organized by Brian Dupont. His work can be found at http://briandupont.com/ and his writings can be found on his blog ‘Artist’s Texts’ at http://briandupont.wordpress.com/
The Extra Gallery is an art space that occurs at odd intervals in a semi-private Chelsea location. The space is located at 635 West 27th St. Please enter the door and press the buzzer to the right to be admitted to the second floor lobby. There will be a reception for the artists on Thursday, October 11 starting at 5:30 PM.